Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Bank holiday excitement. Lots of visitors this weekend so stocked up on 5 million different breads from Eden Project bakery on Friday. Its a bit of a trek for a big box of fancy carbs but well worth it especially as I could excuse the trip with a plant delivery. Started out early to avoid traffic which worked well on the trip there 3 ½ hrs, but 2 hours longer on the way homas I got caught up in all the homeward bound traffic. It looked far worse in the opposite direction especially around the classic
blackspot of Stonehenge where there were 14 mile tail backs by the evening, oh the joys of Bank holiday travel.
The dampness of the weekend has stopped the farm combines but with just a few oats and the wheat to do they are relieved to be on the home run. Looks like reasonable weather again for next week so they are looking pretty happy with things as they stand. A well timed fair weather harvest not only keeps drying costs and carbon footprints down but means that the next crops can be sown in good time before the weather turns cold. Last year was a nightmare for them all, with the wet weather not just messing up harvest but resulting in a lot of crops not getting sown. Luckily the thin chalk soil in these parts allows quick drainage and field access to get something in, so despite some late sowings and dodgy germination and growth in the long cold spring things have worked out generally ok. This is the sort of turn around that the nursery growers are all hoping for to rescue us all. The good late spring and summer weather gives us hope that there could be better times ahead given a fair wind, lets just hope the spring of 2014 delivers and not too many drop off before we get there.
Progress this week with the irrigation Evaposensor controller being wired up now I have all the right instructions and bits. Aftejust the one failed attempt I got all the wires connected to the right bits of kit and we are now able to measure the amount of evaporation second by second in one of the production tunnels (measured in Murrays, not sure if this might be a made up measure, Ive never heard of it). A small box of tricks with a two artificial leaves’ sits among the top of the foliage cover, one leaf is naked and the other is covered with a wet sock’ which is kept damp via the container of water below. I believe it is the temperature difference between the wet and dry leaf that is measured to work out a value of the evaporation rate which is recorded and totalled up each second. You then have a numeric value for the amount of evaporation that has occurred over a period (in our case a day) and you can adjust the amount of irrigation applied to compensate. In theory this adjustment can be applied to the irrigation programme automatically but we don’t have the right chip installed at the moment so I have to adjust it manually each day by entering a percentage adjustment to the programme. Now I have to accumulate a load of data to work out what is the standard reading for a day when we apply a normal amount of irrigation and what it is on low and higevaporative days so I can work out the percentage changes I need to apply to each level of measure. My brain is aching already. Still it keeps you young I suppose.
Or maybe not. Went to the dentist, optician and still struggling with ear trouble this week. So thats deaf, blind and toothless in a week. Watch out it creeps up on you, make the most of it while you can!
Just a few Crocosmias left now coming into flower. Lucifer has just about finished but the other shorter varieties are just starting and looking really good.
Aster Purple Dome bursting forth with its short height and big purple flowers. Mildew resistant and showy, a great plant for any garden. The other asters are not far behind as we move into the post summer holiday period.
The grasses are coming into their own at the moment as many blooms pass by. Carex Evergold and Ice Dance both look fantastic and the silver variegated Miscanthus Morning Light is very strong this year with the first delicate flower heads just appearing. Panicum Prairie Sky looks great too with its upright, elegant blue/grey foliage and flower stems bursting forth
Tray returns
If you have any of our empty wooden trays ready to return please do let us know (email is fine) and we will arrange to pop in and pick the up when we are next in the area. It may take a little while if you are far away but we will try and put together some efficient runs to keep costs and carbon footprints down. Don’t worry if the boxes are damaged as we will still record them as returned and may well be able to repair them through the winter. If we can’t repair them we can break them up for the wood-burner and I can toast my cocktail sausage during those long winter evenings. If you have sold some on to youcustomers please let us know so we can get the figures balanced. It is really important we get these boxes returned so we can maintain such a good looking and sustainable delivery and display system.

Have a good week, from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries